In a move that speaks to both artistic ingenuity and secret agent-levels of stealth, 25-year-old Brooklyn-based rapper Prince Harvey recorded an entire album at Apple stores around New York. He worked exclusively on the stores’ public display computers, laying down tracks and editing his music in a very public space. After working five days a week for four months, he managed to finish a full album, which he appropriately calls PHATASS, a.k.a. Prince Harvey At The Apple Store: SoHo.
The Daily Beast has a really fascinating profile on the whole process. Harvey originally intended to record in the more traditional low-fi way, using his own laptop. But then he experienced multiple setbacks including a busted computer, a broken external hard drive, and a stolen hard drive he accidentally left behind as he was rushing to a date. “It wasn’t my plan to record this at the Apple store,” he explains. “[But] New York is expensive. I couldn’t just buy another laptop. I just thought, ‘I’m going to die before anyone knows I’m hot.’”
So then came the Apple store idea. Harvey befriended two employees who helped him bend the rules along the way. He recorded the full album using only human voices—mostly his own, but also those of a few guests he brought to the store with him. He would work on the project every day and then either email himself his work or save it to a USB drive. If all that failed, he also learned he could hide files in the trash to save them from the nightly memory wipe. But there were still more setbacks: One day there was a fire drill and he wasn’t able to finish saving his work before he was ushered out of the store.
“I wasn’t interested in popular music,” the Dominican-born artist explains in the article. “Nothing was about me or people like me. So I want to reinvent the future and music. I’m just a creator. I want to inspire other people to create—show them that you don’t need all these things to be successful.”
PHATASS will be released July 27.